Truth be told, even if there was one perfect scaling option for the muscle up, coaches wouldn't want you to use it every single time. When scaling the same movement repeatedly, mix it up to avoid compensations or halting your progression towards the movement you are scaling. Allowing your coach to expose you to different drills is the best option over any one scale.
Here are three of our favorite ways to scale the muscle up in workouts.
1. Advanced version: Banded muscle ups
Attaching a band to both rings is made really simple with attaching a pair of False Grips. Either attach a band with False Grips or tie the band onto each ring and place each foot in the band. Doing a muscle up with your feet in the band allows for muscle memory while the band takes care of a portion of your bodyweight.
The only drawback to this scaling option is it is an advanced progression that not many intermediate athletes can do. Secondly, the movement patterns are a prerequisite for this movement because this scale maintains the speed of a muscle up.
2. Intermediate version: Banded basket drill
For this drill, you will connect one band to a pair of rings. Again, attaching a band to both rings is significantly easier with a pair of False Grips. You will then sit on the band with your feet off the ground and initiate the transition of a muscle up by pulling then doing the transition and ending in the dip.
The drawback with this drill is a loss of metabolic stimulus. If you were to chose this scaling option, multiply the reps by 1.5-2. For instance, if there are 12 muscle ups prescribed in a workout, do 18-24 reps of the banded basket drill.
3. Beginner version: 1 Strict pull-up + 1 dip
This very common scaling option is most appropriate for someone who needs to develop more strength for the muscle up. For this scale, 1 pull-up and 1 dip equals 1 muscle up.
The drawback with this drill is the absence of the muscle up movement pattern and the metabolic stimulus from the explosive portion of the muscle up.
If you would like advice on which scaling option is specifically best for you or your athletes, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
~ The False Grips Team